The future and role of Karim Benzema at Real Madrid is up in the air again. After settling down as an undisputed starter following the departure of Gonzalo Higuaín, the Frenchman could again be relegated to the bench under the plans of new coach Rafa Benítez, who has the idea of converting Cristiano Ronaldo into a pure No.9 in a 4-2-3-1 formation, a system that limits the possibilities of the Frenchman.
Despite renewing his contract until 2019, the new situation at the club could lead to Madrid thinking about his departure if they receive good offers, and with the player, 27, not wanting to spend a season on the bench. After six seasons at Real Madrid, Benzema has won recognition from the fans and the critics, who consider him to be a player of undoubted technical quality but who has always left doubts with his goal ratio (0.48 per game).
Benzema is an untypical striker who prefers to chip in with assists than celebrate a goal and has always been trailing Cristiano in the scoring charts. However, Carlo Ancelotti said that the forward was crucial in helping the Portuguese star’s goal tally and Cristiano last season described the Frenchman as the best striker in the league. But Benítez wants a goalscorer, a striker inside the penalty area. In fact, if Benzema does leave Real Madrid will look for a replacement with other features: a striker who will accept a back-up role.
With this new scenario, the biggest clubs in Europe will make efforts to sign Benzema. Arsene Wenger has always been keen to take him to Arsenal. Today, the website ClubCall has reported that the Premier League club are set to make an offer to Real Madrid for €25 million, a figure considerably lower than the €36 million Madrid paid to sign him from Lyon.
Paris Saint Germain are also thinking about making a move. The French club’s Financial Fair Play restrictions have been lifted by UEFA and they will now have more leeway in the transfer market. In addition, PSG could be waving goodbye to Zlatan Ibrahimovic. France Football has already reported the possibility of Benzema replacing the Swedish international. Benzema scored 82 goals in 133 games in France.
Another team in the running is Manchester United, who are already discussing the transfers of David de Gea and Sergio Ramos with Madrid. In June the Manchester Evening News revealed that the United vice president Ed Woodward met the agent of Benzema, Karim Djaziri, in The Savoy hotel in London to ask about the possibility of taking him to Old Trafford to replace Falcao. Benzema’s possible departure would also allow Madrid to spend big on a replacement following the lower profile season-long loan of Javier Hernández last season. They could go for Manchester City’s ‘Kun’ Agüero.